A leafy green Chardon and battling the winter blues

This Deer and Doe Chardon is the last thing I sewed for myself and that was nearly six weeks ago. Towards the end of October my brain promptly went into hibernation (I think I must have been a bear in a past life) I should be used to it by now as it happens every year. The sensible thing to do would have been to take it easy but I’m not one to take my own advice.   I normally manage running the project days, as it’s a horticultural therapy project it works both ways.  Unfortunately it coincided with the busiest time for paperwork; monitoring, evaluation and annual accounts to do. I tried to bumble through as best I could but with everything taking twice as much time, energy and effort I spent most of the time feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and slightly confused. I was just starting to surface again at the end of November when my Mum was rushed into hospital.  She had suffered a small stroke and is fine now and back at home, but we had two weeks of stress and worry.

The point of this ramble is that I haven’t sewn any clothes for weeks and I’m missing it badly! I didn’t want to start any major projects as my lack of cohesive thought would very likely lead to me making a mess of it. I have tried to keep myself busy with easy little side projects, I finished knitting my Wiksten Jul hat just in time for winter to take hold in earnest. I’ve also got one and a half matching arm warmers. I’ve got the yarn for my Owl sweater but I want to wait until the holidays before I cast on.

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Spurred on by Marilla Walkers Christmas decoration swap I vowed to be as crafty as possible this year. I made a couple of stuffed Christmas trees with bells on for Caroline my swap partner:

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I’ve also made my own Christmas cards this year, having a very therapeutic evening with buttons, paper punches and a glue gun:

 

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I’ve just finished making a Parliament of Owl heat bags:

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I’ve enjoyed these little crafting projects but haven’t had the same sense of satisfaction from making them (ie I can’t wear them!)

I normally hate cutting out but it seemed to be a task that was quite manageable and so I have a few make-up bags ready to sew. I’ve also cut out an Archer shirt for the little one (who is now nearly as big as me) as he keeps wearing mine. I’ve cut the same size as I figured he would grow into it and when he grows out of it I’ll be able to have it! I had planned to make some knickers for presents but there has been a bit of debate about how appropriate they would be. The little one is adamant that you can’t give someone a pair of knickers for Christmas, I’ve tried arguing that they will be liberty print with gingham ruffle elastic but the Jury is still out on that one.

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Anyway, the skirt. This is my second Deer and Doe Chardon skirt. I used a metre and a half of this 45inch wide William Morris based quilting cotton, which I bought on holiday earlier in the year. It’s medium weight, a little lighter than my previous Chardon. I sewed it up exactly as last time, cutting a size 44.  I used some of the fabric from my previous one for the facing as it was just that little bit stiffer.

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I bound the hem with green satin bias binding (will definitely finish all my hems this way in future) I am even more in love with this pattern now and it is my number one little flarey skirt pattern.

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Even though things have been hectic (and will continue to be as Christmas approaches) I really feel the need to sew a Christmas dress getting back to a bit of selfish therapeutic sewing. I had a look through the stash and have found the perfect fabric; red tartan!  I’m going to use the bodice from Simplicity 2444 with the skirt from the Colette Peony. I may even go all out Christmas present and put a bow on it. As far as time goes it’s my birthday next week (even though I stopped having birthdays a few years ago, I have settled on being eternally thirtysomething!) Everyone is at work and school apart from me.  The other half wanted to take the day off work so we could go out somewhere but I managed to dissuade him. All I want to do is have a day to myself, sewing my Christmas dress. The prospect of no interruptions, a lit fire and possibly a Cary Grant film on Netflix sounds like a perfect day. I have a box of chocolates at the ready and might even have a bottle of fizz (I actually sew better after alcohol!) a whole six hours of uninterrupted me-time will be bliss!

Anyone else sewing a Christmas dress and if so what are you doing?

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A Purple Deer and Doe Chardon Skirt

My Autumn and Winter sewing plans include a bit of a Deer and Doe binge, I’ve got the Belladone dress, Bruyere shirt and more Plantain tee’s in the queue but thought I’d start with the Chardon skirt. I wanted to check the fit of their patterns and for me the waist measurement is key. The patterns are drafted for hourglass figures and a C-cup, I’ve found with most patterns that if the waist sews up as true from the given measurement, then the bust and hip usually follow. I’ve sewn a couple of plantain’s before and even though they are knits the fit is spot on around the bust and shoulders.

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This purple cotton was originally intended to be another Megan Nielsen Kelly skirt (another thing I never got around to!) however the weight makes it ideal for the structured pleats of the Chardon. I also had half a metre of this perfectly co-ordinating cream cotton with little purple flowers left over from another project which was perfect for the pockets and facing.

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I must say that the packaging is very pretty and the pattern is printed on thick paper so designed to last. I cut a size 44, which was enough to give me a bit of room to breathe! The instructions are brief but it is a straightforward sew. There are nine inverted box pleats, five at the front and four at the back. I made sure that I back stitched the end of the pleats well as they are in a very high stress area (I actually bust the pleats on my Colette Zinnia after one too many Danish Pastries!) The pleats are also topstitched down for added security. I understitched the facing to help it lie flat and prevent it creeping out. The pattern suggests a lapped zipper but I only had an invisible one in my stash so I went with that. I’ve finally realised where I’ve been going wrong with my zips recently, I’ve had a new iron which runs a fair bit hotter than my last and I think it’s been slightly melting the teeth of the zips which would account for them sticking (doh!)

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I opted to add the belt loops, it’s quite a high waisted skirt and I figured a belt would define where my actual waist was (rather than giving me that stumpy torso look) I followed the placement for the loops on the pattern, I thought it was a bit strange as there are two on the front and four across the back but after thinking about it they are perfectly placed as belts do tend to ride up the back once you are sitting.

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The pattern recommends using bias binding to finish the hem, as I had used the contrasting fabric for the pockets and facing using bought binding would have just looked wrong so I decided to invest the time and make my own. I’m really glad I did, the bound hem looks lovely, I’m quite tempted to finish all my skirts like this in future. I think the contrasting fabric really elevates this skirt and I am unashamedly proud of it! I really enjoyed sewing it, the pattern is really well drafted, everything comes together easily and most importantly it is true in size.

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As you have probably gathered this is my new favourite skirt and will get loads of wear throughout the winter. I’m curious to see how this pattern will work with a lighter fabric with more drape so I have another in the queue. I have high hopes that this will become my number one TNT skirt pattern and I’m really looking forward to sewing more Deer and Doe.

Do you have a favourite pattern company?